How to Ship a Microwave & Other Small Appliances

Learn how to properly package a microwave for shipment, which carrier will offer the best rates, and how to save yourself the most money on shipping costs
how to ship a microwave
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Think of the appliances you use most in your kitchen. Chances are, the ones that come to mind are probably your refrigerator, your freezer, your oven…and your microwave. Microwaves are one of the most ubiquitous consumer products found in most homes throughout the country, and as such, a whole lot of them are shipped every day! If you find yourself needing to ship a microwave and are unsure where to start, Shipping School has got you covered. This article covers the ins and outs all of sending microwaves and other small appliances, including which carrier to choose, how to properly package them, and how to save the most money on your shipping costs. Let’s get cooking!

Table of Contents

UPS Ground Will Often Be the Most Affordable Service for Shipping a Microwave

Since microwaves tend to be on the heavier side (most weigh anywhere from 30-60 pounds), shipping with USPS will be more expensive than it usually is. Instead, you’ll want to choose UPS as your carrier, since they offer the best rates for heavier shipments.

Out of all the UPS services, UPS Ground will be the most affordable one. UPS Ground only travels via ground transportation, as its name implies, and is therefore the slowest service UPS offers. However, the term “slow” here is relative! UPS advertises a delivery timeframe of 1-5 business days for Ground shipments. We’ve seen some UPS Ground packages delivered as soon as the next day, depending on how far they need to travel! Since all UPS Ground shipments only go via ground transportation, the further a shipment has to travel to reach its destination, the longer it will take for UPS to deliver it. Conversely, the shorter the distance it needs to go, the shorter the delivery timeframe will be.

To learn more about UPS Ground and how it compares to the Postal Service’s ground service, check out our article: UPS Ground vs USPS Ground Advantage: Which is Better?

How to Properly Pack Small Appliances Like Microwaves for Shipment

Packing microwaves and other small appliances isn’t as simple as throwing them inside a big cardboard box and calling it a day. Here are some steps to follow for packing these kind of items properly:

Use the Original Packaging (If You Have It)

First and foremost, if you have your microwave’s original packaging, you should pack it in that particular box. These boxes are designed to specifically accommodate the exact appliance you’re sending, after all! When it comes to finding a box that’s the right size, you can’t ask for a better option than that.

If You Don’t Have the Original Packaging, Use a Brand-New Box That Fits the Size

If you don’t have the original packaging, the next best option is to pack it in a brand-new corrugated cardboard box that’s big enough to fit the microwave, but small enough so that there isn’t much extra room inside. You don’t want too much space inside of your box. Making sure the box is small enough will keep the microwave from moving around too much inside of it when it’s on a truck or being carried.

Pro Tip: Once you have your box, cushion the bottom of it with several layers of bubble wrap or crumpled-up layers of newspaper!

Remove the Glass Tray from Inside the Microwave

This next step is fairly self-explanatory. One of the most fragile parts of a microwave is the rotating glass tray that goes inside, and you’ll want to take it out and wrap it in packing material like bubble wrap or foam sheets. If you don’t have any of these specialty packing materials lying around, several layers of newspaper and tape should do the trick. Once you’ve wrapped this up, you can place it back inside the microwave.

Taping the wrapped-up glass tray to the inside of your microwave using packing tape is also a good precaution to take. Doing so will help keep it from getting tossed around and breaking.

Wrap the Power Cord in Bubble Wrap and Tape it to the Back of the Microwave

Next, bundle up the microwave’s power cord using a plastic zip tie, wrap it in a couple of layers of bubble wrap, and tape the whole thing to the back of the microwave using heavy-duty packing tape. This will help prevent the prongs at the end of the power cord from bending if and when the box takes any impact during transit.

Cover the Whole Outside of the Microwave In Bubble Wrap

Once you’ve taped your power cord to the back, the next step is to wrap the entire microwave in bubble wrap. You can never use too many layers here; the more, the better! Make sure your bubble wrap is secure by using packing tape.

If you need bubble wrap, you can order several different sizes on Amazon or the ULINE website.

Place the Wrapped Microwave Inside the Box and Tape the Box Closed

You’ve made it to the last step! Place your microwave in your box and fill in any space inside with some packing peanuts, if you’ve got them. If you don’t, you can use more crumpled-up newspaper or extra sheets of bubble wrap that you can loosely throw in. Again, more is better here. The more cushioning you have to keep your microwave snug in its place, the lower the chance that it will take any damage from impact during its journey to your recipient.

Finally, tape the box shut with several layers of packing tape, and you’re good to go. Next up is purchasing your postage!

Consider Adding Third-Party Shipping Insurance for Microwaves & Smaller Appliances

Microwaves are one of the most essential home appliances, and whether you’re moving or you’re an eCommerce business owner fulfilling orders for customers, you should consider adding shipping insurance to protect your package. When you add shipping insurance to the cost of your label, you’ll be able to file a claim in the event that your microwave arrives damaged or the package goes missing.

If UPS Ground is the service you’re going with, you should know that each label comes with $100 of carrier liability. This means that UPS will reimburse you for up to $100 if the package goes missing or the contents arrive damaged (provided you present sufficient evidence such as an invoice, drop-off receipt, etc). However, if your microwave is worth more than $100, you’ll need to add extra shipping insurance to cover its total cost.

Most shipping insurance companies only charge an extra couple of dollars to cover your shipment, and in our experience, it’s well worth the cost. The truth is, things break or get lost every so often during transit…and you want to make sure you’re protected if you ever find yourself in that situation.

Save the Most Money on UPS Ground Labels with Online Shipping Software

When you’ve packed your box and are ready to send it, don’t go to your local UPS Store to purchase UPS Ground postage! You’ll end up paying way more for postage than you’ll need to. Instead, save money by using online shipping software to access deep discounts on UPS labels.

By using online shipping software, you get access to UPS services such as UPS Ground at pre-negotiated rates that major carriers like UPS typically reserve for huge commercial shippers. These shipping software companies can offer these discounts through their economies-of-scale agreements with carriers like UPS and USPS…and taking advantage of these discounts can save you up to 77% off what you’d pay to ship the same box with UPS Ground at your local UPS Store, in some cases!

On top of the huge money savings you’ll get, shipping software also saves you time by letting you schedule a pickup for your package. When you print your label, slap it on your box, and schedule a pickup for it—all through shipping software—you’ll never even have to leave your house, if you don’t want to!

Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To get the deepest discounts on UPS labels, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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